Fires rage in Bunyip State Park

Fires rage in Bunyip State Park
A fire in Victoria's east is worse than the Black Saturday blaze that burned in the same spot 10 years ago, a firefighter says.

More than 30 fires are burning across the state, following lightning strikes, blistering temperatures and searing winds.

Five buildings, including three homes, were destroyed by Sunday afternoon.

Two of those homes were in the Garfield North area near the Bunyip State Park, where a fire has already burned through 6000 hectares and is racing towards the Princes Highway.

"This is an active fire. It is moving, and there is every likelihood there will be further property losses," Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp told reporters.






A third residence was reduced to ash south of Morwell, fire officials confirmed.

Country Fire Authority assistant chief officer Trevor Owen has worked on fires in Bunyip State Park in 2003, 2006 and 2009's Black Saturday fire, which also started by lightning.

"Under those very strong conditions experienced on that day [in 2009], it travelled neatly. Whilst it damaged some property it was a very narrow finger compared to what we're facing with this fire, because this fire has been growing," Mr Owen told a community meeting at Pakenham on Sunday.

"What we've been doing is throwing everything we've got at the fire."

There are 850 firefighters, with 110 fire trucks, bulldozers and aircraft fighting the blaze.



Crews are focusing their efforts on stamping out spot fires to reduce the spread and protect assets.

Labertouche was expected to be affected by the fire on Sunday afternoon and about 30 homes were doorknocked and told to evacuate.

Others in areas including Bunyip, Cornucopia, Garfield, Gentle Annie, Longwarry, Maryknoll, Nar Nar Goon, Tonimbuk and Tynong have been told it is too late to leave and to take shelter immediately.

Three relief centres have been set up for residents forced out by the fires.

An emergency warning was issued for the Budgeree blaze on Sunday afternoon, with residents told it is too late to leave.

Campers and daytrippers had to be evacuated from Wilsons Promontory.

An emergency warning has since been issued for Dargo in Gippsland on Sunday afternoon, with a watch and act remaining in place for Licola.

The bushfire near Dargo is out of control and was travelling towards the Howittville and Shepherdson areas.

It is too late for residents in these areas to leave and the safest option is to take shelter.

The Licola fire was also started by lightning but the fire was travelling away from the township on Sunday afternoon, Mr Crisp said.

The Bunyip State Park fire was also dangerously close to two electricity transmission lines linking the Latrobe Valley and Melbourne.

The company that operates Victoria's electricity transmission network said supply could be exposed to risk.

Fire has already damaged power lines and poles in the Gippsland area with outages reported in Tonimbuk, Yinnar South and Budgeree.

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